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Tel Aviv University
[TAU, Archaeology] Raphael Greenberg, Look Who Is Talking ?


      
TAU Archaeology Prof. Raphael Greenberg
Email: grafi@post.tau.ac.il

12.08.13
Editorial Note: 
 
Raphael (Rafi) Greenberg, a professor of archaeology from Tel Aviv University, has been the subject of IAM reporting before.  Together with his colleagues - Zeev Herzog and, to a lesser degree, Israel Finkelstein - Greenberg is part of the so-called Copenhagen-Sheffield school of archaeology that questions Jewish presence in the Holy Land.  Concurrently, Greenberg has been one of the founders of Emek Shaveh - Archaeology in the Shadow of the Conflict, a group that opposes digs in Jerusalem that strive to uncover such presence.  
 
As the following article indicates, Greenberg accuses the organizers of a dig of accepting money from right-wing groups that are ideologically motivated to prove Jewish existence in Jerusalem.  
 
This is ironic at best and cynical at worst.  As IAM disclosed, Greenberg's Emek Shaveh has been funded by a number of sources that are interested in supporting the Copenhagen-Sheffield position including the Norwegian Embassy, the Dutch Cordaid and Anna Lindh Foundation. A member of Emek Shaveh board of directors is Hagit Ofran, the director the Settlement Watch project of the Israeli Peace Now movement (Shalom Achshav).   His ties to the Center for Palestine Studies and the Anthropology Department at Columbia University are also telling. The Center for Palestine Studies, supported by Arab money, has been engaged in delegitimizing Israel and BDS
 
Such ties belie Greenberg's effort to portray himself as an objective scholar confronting researchers tainted by "right-wing money."  In Greenberg's highly ideological world-view, the old saying "what is good for the goose is good for the gander" apparently does not apply.



Jerusalem’s “What Me Worry“ Archaeology


When you are digging 20 or 100 yards away from the Temple Mount you are in the heart of politics, not above them. When you take money from settlers you are in the heart of politics. When you excavate in the midst of a Palestinian population that is under constant surveillance and deprived of its civil rights you are in the heart of politics. When your excavation and research concern only the ancient history of Jerusalem while remaining oblivious to 1000 years of history in Silwan you are in the heart of politics. Now, when you are in the heart of politics, yet state that you are above politics, you are in denial.



See Also: A Future for the Archaeology of Jerusalem



By Raphael Greenberg
Associate Professor in Archaeology
University of Tel Aviv
May 2013


A recent story on the latest excavations in ancient Jerusalem by Dafna Laskin in the Jerusalem Post, as well as an editorial in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper calling for the disengagement of archaeology from right-wing politics, cast a stark light on the “what me worry” sentiment often heard in the archaeological community: If the archaeology is good, why fret about the funding or the politics?

This question is based on two premises: (a) the source of funding is not relevant to the quality of archaeological practice; (b) archaeology can and should be kept apart from politics. Both premises are flawed.

Funding affects archaeological practice both directly and indirectly. To begin with, research design is closely linked to the nature of the funding body. Science-based funding requires research aims, design and methods to be spelled out in advance. Excavations are then geared – in tempo, means and methods – to achieve results. Where the funding comes from non-scientific sources, other considerations are at the forefront. In the City of David National Park, all excavations – including those of Tel Aviv University – are underwritten by the park developers, i.e., the El’ad settler association. In Givati parking lot, excavation is geared primarily toward the preparation of a large foundation pit for the future visitors’ center, which is to be built over any antiquities    discovered there. The developers’ main interest here is space – how much construction will be allowed – and time – how soon they can get started. This affects the tempo of excavation – year-round digging over the past six years – and decisions on what to preserve and how deep to go in the large foundation pit. In the case of the TAU excavation, the park landscape architects have    asked the IAA to clear the lower slopes of the City of David (outside the Iron II and Bronze Age fortifications and well away from the controversial “palace” area, but only a few yards from the houses of Silwan) down to bedrock. This is not a research agenda but an aesthetic one, promoted by the park developers for whom archaeologists are merely a necessary evil. The location is unlikely to provide answers to the questions that are of greatest interest to the professors at Tel Aviv University.

Funding also influences archaeologists in more subtle ways. Because their livelihoods are dependent on the continued funding, archaeologists will cultivate their funders in various ways. One seemingly innocuous way is to employ the popular terminology for cultures and periods favored by the funding body (in the case of Jerusalem it is Elad, the Jewish settler organization). The Iron Age becomes the “First Temple Period” – even for those periods in which the existence of a temple remains archaeologically moot; the Persian period becomes the “Period of the Return” and so on. Archaeologist’s socialization over the past decade has come to include participation in settler fundraisers, acceptance of Elad-sponsored prizes, and other developer-sponsored activities. Recently, in a hearing held by Jerusalem’s Planning Commission, the Director of the IAA cited the written support of Professors Finkelstein, Lipschits, Naaman and Reich in a response to Professor Yoram Tsafrir, who represented 70 Israeli archaeologists critical of planned construction in the Western Wall plaza. The professorial support seems neatly correlated with Tel Aviv University’s recent integration in the IAA’s City of David projects. In such a    manner are archaeologists gradually absorbed into the public face of the settlers’ Jerusalem, with all its attendant, well-documented biases.

This brings us to the second false premise: that archaeology can remain above politics. To put it bluntly, when you are digging 20 or 100 yards away from the Temple Mount you are in the heart of politics, not above them. When you take money from settlers you are in the heart of politics. When you excavate in the midst of a Palestinian population that is under constant surveillance and deprived of its civil rights you are in the heart of politics. When your excavation and research concern only the ancient history of Jerusalem while remaining oblivious to 1000 years of history in Silwan you are in the heart of politics. Now, when you are in the heart of politics, yet state that you are above politics, you are in denial. This becomes as political a stance as any: an affirmation that archaeology is naturally, a-politically, an Israeli project and a wedge in Palestinian Silwan. No amount of sieving, sherd-counting, text criticism or ancient DNA analysis can alter that equation. Rather, you must admit that you act within a political context, and then work to realign your archaeology in a way that will promote the human values, such as tolerance and understanding, in which you claim to believe.

Archaeologists may make history, but in circumstances over which they have little control. They must therefore be doubly concerned with the consequences of their work and avoid putting themselves in the service of those who would encourage conflict and injustice.



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Click to watch video of the lecture

Brown University

Archaeology and Identity in Modern Israel and Palestine


Lecture by Rafi Greenberg.

Archaeologists play an important part in molding the collective memory of the communities with which they interact. As active participants in the creation of heritage, archaeologists in Israel and Palestine have a role as public intellectuals and a responsibility to past, present and future. This presentation explores the interface between archaeology and the emergence of diverse modern identities in Israel and Palestine secular and religious, national and ethnic, indigenous and territorial. 

For more on archaeology and identity in Israel and Jerusalem, see http //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcIuKsGOj_Y

Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
60 George Street


==================================

Archaeology and Identity in Modern Israel and Palestine

Please join the Center for Palestine Studies and the Center for Archaeology for a discussion on the controversial excavations in Jerusalem by Israelis.

Friday, 15 March 2013, 1-2:30PM
Scheps Library, Room 457
Schermerhorn Extension
Columbia University
Enter gates on 116th & Broadway or Amsterdam

+Professor Raphael Greenberg, Tel Aviv University
+Moderated by Brian Boyd, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology & Program Director at the Center for Archaeology, Columbia University

Raphael Greenberg is a senior lecturer in the field of archeology at Tel Aviv University. Currently, he is working on the West Bank and East Jerusalem Archeological Database Project (http://crcc.usc.edu/initiatives/shi/resources.html), which lists the archeological sites that have been excavated by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967. As part of this project, he published a book entitled Israeli Archeological Activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem: A Sourcebook. His research focuses on two distinct fields: Early Bronze Age research, and the impact of archaeology in the present. His research covers questions such as the formation and dissolution of early urban societies in the Levant, long and mid-range interaction, migration and trade, and social and economic aspects of ceramic industries (most recently, the Kura-Araxes interaction sphere). Moreover, his work on archaeology in the present includes teaching and writing about community archaeology and the politics of the archaeology of ancient Jerusalem. These interests are brought into relation with one another through a commitment to critical archaeology and to the investigation of perrenially relevant questions such as time, migration and transmission of culture, and material culture and its agency. Greenberg is also the founder of an alternative archaeological tour of ancient Jerusalem called Emek Shaveh (http://www.alt-arch.org/)






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